by: Rich Vaughan
As World War I drew to a close, the guns were finally silenced on November 11, (1918) at 11:00AM. So on the 11th month, on the 11th day, at the 11th hour WWI ended. That is how Veterans Day came to be on November 11th of every year for us. With many of our younger generation including college kids having no idea of the history of this day, it might do well if you reminded those in your family what today is all about. It is a day set aside to honor ALL those who served in the armed forces. It does not matter if they ever saw combat. It honors every man and woman who took the oath to defend our nation and gave of their time and service to our country. They all went through times where they were separated from loved ones. And whether they had to cash the “check”, they each wrote a blank check to our nation that included laying down their life, if it came to that. Today we thank them. There are other holidays to remember those currently serving in the armed forces (Armed Forces Day) or who died in battle (Memorial Day). But today is for all who served.
The picture attached is of one such veteran. He fought in WWII and represents every man and woman today who proudly holds the honor of being a veteran. This particular soldier saw heavy action in the European theater. He was in tanks and was a Tech Sergeant (the highest rank one could achieve as a non-officer at that time). He fought in major conflicts including the Battle of the Bulge (Dec. 16th, 1944 to January 25th, 1945 where 89,500 US military were either killed, missing, or wounded in this 6-week battle). Later, his battalion would join up with General George S. Patton’s 3rd Army for a final push to end the war. He was part of a major battle that shortened the war in Europe called the Battle of Remagen (Germany, March 7th-25th). His Tank battalion would be the first American unit to reach the Rhine. Like most combat Veterans he never spoke about the battles. I know he helped to liberate a concentration camp and witnessed first-hand the horrors of the Holocaust. I know all this because the man in the picture is my father, Richard Carroll Vaughan. Dad died in 1997 and his (and Mom’s) grave is in the cemetery at the very first church I served, Hopewell UMC. There will be a flag on his grave today as there will be in all the cemeteries that are home to the remains of our Veterans who have finished their earthly journey. Take a moment today and whisper a prayer of thanks for our veterans living and deceased. If you see someone in uniform today thank them, and if you are able, buy them a drink and/or a meal.
Amen & Amen